Long ago in an ancient city there were two beggars named Cain and Abel. Both men were crippled, but Cain was crippled in both his legs while Abel was crippled in just one. In this city there was a pool of water around which was built a stone portico, for this kept the water shaded and cool. It was said that every so often an angel would come and stir the water with his finger and that the first one who touched the water after this would be granted his heart’s desire. Now Cain and Abel would stay near this pool to rest in the shade of the portico and to beg from the people coming there. Many times the waters of the pool would stir and many times Cain and Abel would hurry as best they could to the water’s edge, each wishing to be healed of their infirmity and each time Abel, with his one good leg, would get to the pool first. But each time the stirring of the water was caused by the wind, not by an angel, so Abel was left a cripple. Even though Abel was not healed, Cain began to hate Abel, envying him his one good leg which gave him such an advantage.
“It’s not fair, not fair at all,” thought Cain, cursing Abel in his heart.
One day the king came into the ancient city to make a sacrifice there. Both Cain and Abel knew that the king would pass by a street not far from the pool, but it was only Abel who left to go beg along the route the king would take.
“It is well enough for Abel to go beg along the street. He can use a crutch to stand upon, while I will be too low to be seen by the king,” thought Cain bitterly.
As Cain was thinking this the waters of the pool began to stir. There was no one else near the pool but him for all the city was along the route to see the king. Cain shook his head and almost didn’t crawl down to the pool; so often had Abel beaten him there, so often had he been disappointed. But he went anyway, more out of habit than of hope. He touched the water. As he expected, nothing happened. Then the shaded water of the pool began to shimmer in the center as if lit by a strong beam of sunlight. From this light an angel rose up from the waters until he towered above Cain.
“Man favored by God, your day of blessing has come. What is your heart’s desire?”
Cain did not hesitate but said, “I wish that you cripple Abel’s good leg.”
More stories like this can be found in The Sword of Fire novels, Asulon, Eretzel and Apocalypse.
NOBILIS VOS ESTOS,
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